FEATURE | GGFN Bundesliga End-of-Season Awards

The end of the season is upon us and for the first time in 11 years, we have a different champion. Ending Bayern Munich’s monopoly, Bayer Leverkusen are arguably the greatest Bundesliga champion of all time due to their achievements. Naturally here at Get German Football News, we will now look at our end-of-season awards. 


Player of the Season:

Granit Xhaka: An argument could be made for literally any Bayer Leverkusen player, but Granit Xhaka has probably been the one constant in this Leverkusen team who are 50 games unbeaten. The 30-year-old brings much-needed experience and calmness on the ball and really makes the team tick. The importance of Xhaka can be seen in the games that Leverkusen have struggled in, such as their recent 2-2 draw with Stuttgart where he was suspended. Jack Meenan 

Granit Xhaka: With Bayer Leverkusen knocking Bayern Munich off of their perch, you could really have any B04 player in this category. However, the €15m the club spent to bring Granit Xhaka in from Arsenal is magnificent buisness. The Swiss midfielder has shone in midfield alongside Exequiel Palacios or Robert Andrich, and his experience at the highest level has been crucial to Bayer’s achievements this season. Xhaka remains calm and composed on the pitch and drives the team forward. Money well spent. Daniel Pinder 

Florian Wirtz: A close call between Florian Wirtz and Granit Xhaka; however, as the latter is available for another award, I will crown Wirtz as my player of the season. Being brandished as one of the most promising players in world football is not mentally easy for any young player. Nevertheless, over the years, Wirtz has proven to be one of the most technically gifted players of his generation, while simultaneously displaying remarkable mental strength in spite of the injuries and setbacks he has suffered. This season, the 21-year-old has registered 22 goal contributions in 31 appearances in the Bundesliga, helping guide Die Werkself to their maiden Meisterschale trophy. Without their talisman, overcoming Bayern Munich certainly would not have been as straightforward for Xabi Alonso’s side. Will Shopland

Granit Xhaka: Has been a pivotal player in B04’s season, appearing in all but one game. He may not get you goals, but his consistency in the middle has provided Alonso’s side with an anchor on which to play. Jamie Allen 

Granit Xhaka/Florian Wirtz: Harry Kane has been clinical for Bayern, Niclas Füllkrug has adapted well to Dortmund, Serhou Guirassy and Deniz Undav have been two among many highlights for Stuttgart. But it is hard to look past Xhaka or Wirtz with their midfield performances setting the foundations for Leverkusen’s extraordinary season. Oscar O’Mara

Harry Kane: A lot of pressure was placed on Harry Kane as he switched countries for the first time to play in the Bundesliga. Despite playing for a struggling Bayern team this season he has scored an outrageous 36 goals, provided eight assists and his overall performances have been a pleasure to watch. He has broken multiple records this season including being the fastest player to reach 20 goals and has scored the most Bundesliga goals in a debut season. Despite no trophies for his side, it’s an individual season to be proud of. Matty Gritton

Young Player of the Season:

Maximilian Beier: I will avoid Florian Wirtz and Xavi Simons as they will likely be popular choices and instead go with Beier. After two seasons on loan at Hannover, Beier has hit the ground running in his first proper season of Bundesliga football scoring 15 goals making him the second highest scoring German in the league behind Deniz Undav. Beier’s form has already earned him a call-up to the German national team, while clubs from around Europe are starting to show interest in the 21-year-old. JM

Maximilian Beier: The German forward played just nine games in the Bundesliga for Hoffenheim between 2019 and 2021 before spending two years on loan at 2. Bundesliga side Hannover. Since his return, Beier has been TSG’s most dangerous player. His 15 goals and four assists in 32 Bundesliga games this season has earned him a place in Germany’s Euro 2024 squad. DP

Aleksandar Pavlović: When it became apparent that Bayern Munich would be without Joshua Kimmich for a number of games earlier this season, there was concern that Der Rekordmeister’s midfield would cease to exist. Enter Aleksandar Pavlović. The 20-year-old has been inspiring since becoming a regular feature in Bayern’s midfield. At first, Pavlović made it clear that Kimmich would not be missed, but nobody believed he would force the 29-year-old back to his former position at right-back. He now appears to be not just the future of Bayern’s midfield but the present as well. A breakout season to remember. WS

Aleksandar Pavlović: Just 19 Bundesliga games under his belt, and the 20-year-old already looks comfortable in the middle of the park. He’s certainly earned his place in the Bayern squad and a spot at the Euros. JA

Florian Wirtz: Still only 21 but with a combined 37 goals and assists this season, he has been the diamond in Alonso’s attacking midfield. OOM

Florian Wirtz: Already conquering the Bundesliga and an integral part of Bayer Leverkusen’s success, Wirtz is a technically gifted and brave player and it’s scary to think how good he can become. MG

Breakout Player of the Season:

Sehrou Guirassy: Technically not a breakout player, but he has had his best-ever goalscoring season as he played a big role in Stuttgart’s Champions League qualification. Guirassy is the second-best goalscorer in the league behind only Harry Kane. I am of the belief that if Guirassy did not travel to the Africa Cup of Nations and did not get injured during the season he could be level with Kane’s current goalscoring tally. JM

Aleksandar Pavlović: Few had heard of Aleksandar Pavlović prior to the German making his debut this season. First, he ousted Leon Goretzka and now a regular in midfield, it’s forced Joshua Kimmich to play at right-back. A defensive-minded player, Pavlović also has two goals to this name this season and should be a mainstay in the Bayern midfield for years to come.  DP

Aleksandar Pavlović: (See above) WS

Maximilian Beier: 15 goals for Hoffenheim this season and is being watched by some of Europe’s top clubs. The future is bright for the 21-year-old. JA

Deniz Undav: It could be Wirtz again but for the sake of diversity, Deniz Undav. He struggled at Brighton last year but has found his feet with Stuttgart. 28 goal contributions in 32 games in a new side is impressive by any standards. OOM

Xavi Simons: The young Dutchman had to face some competition to get regular game time at Leipzig but he became and important part of their side and it was amazing to see his goal contributions and the creativity levels he has for his age. MG

Signing of the Season:

Alejandro Grimaldo: Loïs Openda, Granit Xhaka, Deniz Undav, Harry Kane, Robin Hack ;), could all be named signings of the season but who doesn’t love a ‘free’ transfer? Leverkusen’s issue over the years has also been a wing-back to match the quality of Jeremie Frimpong on the right-hand side. In Grimaldo, they have that and then some. In his first Bundesliga season, he has 10 goals and 13 assists and has heavily removed any attacking burden off of Frimpong’s side. It is not only his output that is crucial but his dead-ball skills, the amount of corners that have resulted in late equalisers or winners for Leverkusen have always come from Grimaldo. Makes you wonder why did the top team in Europe not even think about picking the 28-year-old up last summer? JM

Alejandro Grimaldo: The Spaniard arrived at Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer from Benfica upon the expiry of his contract. More offensively minded than his time in Portugal, Grimaldo now plays at left-wing back and at times, in a front three. With 10 goals and 14 assists in 32 Bundesliga games this season, Grimaldo has been magnificent.  DP

Granit Xhaka: Where does one even start trying to explain how important Granit Xhaka has been to Bayer Leverkusen this season? When he was signed in the summer from Arsenal, many considered Xhaka’s arrival to be rather uninspiring. It has proved to be anything but. He has been the most influential midfielder in the league, boasting considerably more attempted passes, completed passes, progressive passes, and passes into the final third than any other player in the Bundesliga. He is the sole reason why Leverkusen are as dominant in possession as they are, propelling them to the heights German domestic football has ever seen. The control Xhaka has on a game and the leadership he brings to this side are unmatched, far and away the signing of the season. WS

Deniz Undav: He’s lifted Stuttgart to the Champions League and he has made it look easy! OOM

Alejandro Grimaldo: The Spanish left-back came from Benfica on a free transfer and quickly became one of the best players in the league. He has been a crucial part of Leverkusen’s success with his attacking output. He is the highest assister in the league with 13 assists and has also scored 10 goals including some stunning free kicks. MG

Surprise Team:

Stuttgart: In the relegation playoff last season, this season in the Champions League. The only bad thing about Stuttgart is the fact that their season has been overshadowed by Leverkusen’s unbeaten run. The back end of last season saw some positive things from Sebastian Hoeneß’s side but no one could have predicted what this season would bring. In fact, in the summer they saw the departures of key players and only a handful of arrivals meant that this achievement is still being done with basically the same squad that was fighting relegation last season. Stuttgart are one of the best footballing teams in Germany this season and the real test for them will be next season to see if they can match this achievement. JM

Stuttgart: Sebastian Hoeneß has taken this Stuttgart team from the realms of relegation to qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 2010. It’s truly a magnificent feat, but the club are doing everything right on the pitch, and off it. An incredible 12 months, they have a gem in Hoeneß and their recruitment has been spot-on with Serhou Guirassy and Deniz Undav. Few would have predicted VfB qualifying for the Champions League.  DP

Stuttgart: In truth, there were a number of sides that could be considered the surprise team of the season. Heidenheim enjoyed a remarkable campaign in which they were written off at the start, while I doubt anybody expected Bayer Leverkusen to go the entire season unbeaten in all competitions. However, while Stuttgart’s side on paper resembled one far greater than the relegation play-off in which they were embroiled last season, qualifying for the Champions League is remarkable. They could yet still finish above Bayern Munich in second and have pushed Bayer Leverkusen to their limits on three separate occasions this season, losing just once to the Werkself. Sebastian Hoeneß has made Stuttgart the second-best club in Germany, in my opinion, and that is an unbelievable achievement. WS

Heidenheim: Who had Heidenheim finishing comfortably in midtable? They’ve been a great watch this season after many believed they’d finish rock bottom. JA

Bayer Leverkusen: Stuttgart can only be pipped by the inevitable: Bayer Leverkusen. You are lying if you saw this season coming. Even Alonso is surprised! OOM

Stuttgart: After narrowly avoiding relegation last season in 16th place, no one expected Stuttgart to be in the top three and qualify for the Champions League this season. In the summer they made some smart signings and added some serious firepower such as Serhou Guirassy on a permanent deal and Deniz Undav and they are now a real exciting team to watch. MG

Game of the Season:

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 VfB Stuttgart: Real Fußball. End to End, bar for bar. This DFB-Pokal quarter-final was exciting throughout and showed why both of these teams are the best footballing teams in Germany this season. It was also complete with a late Jonathan Tah winner for Leverkusen, what’s not to love? Let’s hope that this will somehow end up as the Super Cup next season. JM

Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Bayern Munich: You could quite easily have Leverkusen’s games against Stuttgart in this category, but Bayer putting three past Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich without reply is no easy task, despite Bayern’s dire campaign. Heading into the game, this felt like one that B04 must win. Failure to do so would likely have seen Bayern lift their 12th successive title. For Leverkusen to end that feels like the start of a new era.  DP

Bayern Munich 1-2 Borussia Dortmund: For myself, this is the winner of this category for the number of different stories attached to it rather than for the game itself. Finally, BvB managed to beat Bayern in their own backyard, just for it to not benefit them in the title race. It also reflected just to what extent Bayern had managed to sleepwalk themselves into regression. In a game in which every year Dortmund came up short, Der Rekordmeister did not even look like coming out on top. It also highlighted how Dortmund have only shown up this season when it matters, losing at home the week later to Stuttgart but reaching the Champions League final. This clash was anything but a Der Klassiker, other than in the stories it told. WS

Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Bayern Munich: B04 really proved to the world that they were the real deal that night. The display from Alonso’s side really felt like the crown was being turned over. It was the end of Bayern’s decade of dominance. JA

An impartial observer might say Köln beating Union but Leverkusen have been so much fun to watch this season.
The late draws away to Stuttgart or at home to Roma was ridiculous. OOM

Bayern 8-0 Darmstadt: Despite this game being very one-sided, it was most definitely a great watch for the neutral. When Joshua Kimmich was sent off after just four minutes for Bayern, fans thought a result might just have been on the cards for Darmstadt. This did not stand in the way of Harry Kane and Bayern though as Kane scored a hattrick included a stunning goal from the halfway line. Other attacking players such as Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane produced some magic whilst there was also an additional two red cards given out for Darmstadt. MG


Borussia Mönchengladbach: Champions League four years ago, this season surviving after rivals Köln scored a late winner in the penultimate game of the season. Gladbach are the next big Bundesliga club to be sleepwalking to an eventual relegation unless something changes. 

Gerardo Seoane is in the wrong place at the wrong time and he is seemingly not the right man to lead Gladbach through their transition, while the man above him, Roland Virkus, is not a good sporting director and he has proven to be a big drop off compared to predecessor Max Eberl and if Gladbach are to rebuild, Virkus will have to leave. 

Stuttgart are a good example of how to turn the team around when hiring a coach and sporting director who can work in tandem, however, unlike Stuttgart, Gladbach have no sellable players who could fund a rebuild. JM

Union Berlin: From Champions League football to fighting against relegation. It’s been a season to forget for Union. Their recruitment has been poor and the decision to replace Urs Fischer with Croatian Nenad Bjelica hasn’t gone to plan.  DP

RB Leipzig: Despite qualifying for the Champions League once again and finishing fourth in the table, RB Leipzig have underachieved, and they have for a number of years. Last season, they finished five points away from the title, and in hindsight, they should have taken advantage and won the title. This year, while they lost a number of key assets, they replaced them well and regressed. It is understandable that it can take a team a while to gel, but the same problems that have affected them since the promotion to the Bundesliga remain. With the finances and players at their disposal, they really should be challenging for the title; instead, they have been usurped by Stuttgart. WS

Leon Goretzka: The 29-year-old had the chance to be a leading figure in Bayern’s midfielder this season, but it just hasn’t happened. In fact, he’s been overshadowed by Pavlović. JA

No signing at Union Berlin has particularly set Bundesliga (or the Champions League) alight. But anyone from Alex Kral, Leonardo Bonucci, or David Fofana could win this infamous crown. The latter two departed in January and barely left a mark in Köpenick after all the hype of their arrivals. OOM

Union Berlin: After finishing in the Champions League places last season, Union Berlin had a real chance to kick on and establish themselves as a minimum top-half team however it wasn’t expected that they would now be fighting relegation. It was sad and surprising to see Urs Fischer struggle and be released from his job after all of the amazing success that he has brought to the club. MG

Flop of the Season: 

Felix Nmecha: Wolfsburg need to be in prison, they have committed daylight robbery on Borussia Dortmund making them spend €30m for Nmecha. Since arriving from Wolfsburg, Nmecha has shown the quality of a player worth €3m, yes he has been injured, but when he has played, he has offered nothing, he walks around half the time, shows no quality when on the ball and struggles against basically everyone.

It says a lot about the quality of a player if Manchester City lets you leave on a free transfer. Not only does Nmecha not offer anything on the pitch, but off the pitch, he is also just not a seemingly a nice person. He likely has as many transphobic and homophobic posts posted on Instagram as goal contributions. JM  

Datro Fofana: Like several of Union Berlin’s signings this season, Datro Fofana is another flop. The Ivorian arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea but lasted just six months before joining Burnley. The 21-year-old’s only goal for the club came in his final Bundesliga appearance against FC Köln on matchday 16.  DP

Harry Kane: Individually, Harry Kane has had an unbelievable season, breaking records on what seems like a weekly basis. However, the €100 million Bayern Munich spent on him has failed to deliver any trophies. This is, therefore, more of a negative reflection on Bayern than Kane. To break your transfer record just to fail in your hunt for silverware reflects negligence in other areas of the squad. A fantastic individual campaign, but could the money have been better used elsewhere? WS

Naby Keïta: The obvious choice. Keita’s attitude has been a problem all season, and the sooner he’s off the books in Bremen, the better. JA

Min-Jae Kim: Again, any Union Berlin signing could fit comfortably into this category. However, Min-Jae Kim for €50 million feels like a widely inflated amount of money. OOM

Leonardo Bonucci: The Euro 2020 winner was brought into Union Berlin to add experience and help solidify the defence after being at Italian giants Juventus for 12 years. The gamble did not pay off though as Bonucci couldn’t adapt and was sold to Fenerbahçe just halfway through the season. MG

GGFN News Desk



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